By Elizabeth Riggs
On Tuesday, May 16 Ellicottville voters passed the proposed 2017-2018 Ellicottville Central School District budget by an overwhelming majority vote of 264-57, exceeding the required 60 percent majority approval of the raised Tax Cap. The vote finalizes the district budget of $12,319,921 for the 2017-2018 school year.
ECS voters also passed the school bus proposition by a vote of 271-49, which will allow the district to lease two 66-passenger, 2018 International School Buses for the next five years. The decision will ensure that all of the buses in the district’s fleet are less than five years old.
In the school board member election results, Board Member Len Zlockie was re-elected to another five-year term, defeating opponent Dr. Erin Cornelius by a narrow margin of 160-157.
After closing the polls for voting at 8 p.m. Tuesday night, the ECS School Board held a regular meeting in which Superintendent Mark Ward detailed a recent hearing he and Middle/High School Principal Bob Miller had with the New York State Public High School Athletic Association last week. According to Ward, their efforts were to lobby for a recent student who transferred to the district be permitted to play sports.
“It was for a student who transferred from West Valley and was unable to play because she did not have a physical move,” Ward said.
In addition, Ward outlined the district’s tentative plan for handling outreach to substitute teachers, which will involve a school staff member to reach out using a school cell phone rather than being coordinated through a school secretary.
“We think this is the cleanest way to do it. It’s hard to ask [teachers] to take calls on [their] own personal phone. If we just issue them a phone then the bill is covered by the district,” Ward said. “We just think it’s the right way to do business.”
Ward said that the cell phone would prevent teachers from having to be reimbursed for phone calls on personal devices, and most importantly, it would allow outreach in the form of text messages rather than phone calls, which may be more convenient for potential subs.
In the Middle School and High School Report, Miller announced that grades 3-8 have wrapped up math and ELA testing, and science testing will begin for grades 4-8 on Wednesday, May 24.
Miller also announced upcoming changes to the routine for Moving Up nights. This year, Freshmen Orientation will take place on Tuesday, May 23 at 7:30 p.m., which is new. The district has previously held moving up night for grades 5, 6 and 8, but will be splitting up the events and hosting an orientation in August for students in grades 6 and 7.
“This will allow students to find their lockers, try out their combinations, locate classrooms, etc. just before school starts. The intent is to provide a smoother transition for these students when school starts in September,” said Miller.
Miller also announced the upcoming Junior /Senior prom, which will be held on Saturday, June 3 at the West Valley Firemen’s Clubhouse. Lastly, he announced plans for a senior class outing after announcing at a prior meeting that the senior class trip was cancelled due to lack of interest.
“Senior class members are going for a dinner cruise on Chautauqua Lake on the Chautauqua Bell. We have around 37 kids talking about going and the senior class is paying for it. It’s something different. We have some high hopes that it will be a good time for them,” Miller said of the outing, which will be held on Friday, June 9.
The next ECS Board of Education Meeting will be held on Tuesday, June 6 at 7 p.m. in the high school library.